4 Carolina Panthers players that can bounce back from disappointment in 2023
By Dean Jones
Yetur Gross-Matos - Carolina Panthers DE/OLB
Many thought the Carolina Panthers would address the edge rushing position opposite Brian Burns as their second biggest priority behind finding a franchise quarterback this offseason. Looking at how they handled recruitment in this key area, nothing could be further from the truth.
No big names arrived in free agency and only D.J. Johnson came on board via the draft. Based on defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero's comments during his recent media availability, this might be the group Carolina goes forward with next season.
Again, this is a massive gamble. But it might give Yetur Gross-Matos one final opportunity to prove his worth from a starting role.
Gross-Matos fluffed his lines from a starting defensive end position last season en route to just 2.5 sacks. In contrast, 2022 sixth-rounder Amare Barno managed two quarterback takedowns and played 805 fewer snaps.
One thing Evero values highly in his 3-4 defensive ends and outside linebackers is the ability to set the edge on running plays. What does Gross-Matos do better than almost anything else?
You guessed it. Set the edge.
Providing he beats out the likes of Barno, Marquis Haynes Sr., and Johnson to the starting job, Gross-Matos might have a new lease of life as a 3-4 outside linebacker under Evero's expert guidance. Anything else would likely come with his departure from the franchise in 2024.